Spinster. Short Story.

My weekend was pretty relaxing, finished off Horns by Joe Hill. I quite enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. I also started on another of his books, which is pretty good so far.

On with the show!

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Marcy.

She had never liked that name. It was an ugly name for an ugly girl.

She could see why her parents chose it for her.

Perhaps that was a little harsh, she wasn’t after all that ugly. Really she was plain. No distinguishing features. She could be pretty enough if you added some make up, which she never did. Make up was something she had never understood, her only notion of it came from her mother and that was that make up was for “harlots and whores.” Despite knowing this wasn’t true, she still felt her cheeks burn when she tried to approach make up counters in stores.

Marcy didn’t mind being plain, it wasn’t a bad thing. The boys ignored her for the most part, occasionally one would approach her, believing her to be desperate and willing to put out, but they always left disappointed. Marcy had known from a very young age that she was meant to die alone and she was fine with this. She wasn’t meant to have a husband, she wasn’t meant to have children, she wasn’t meant to have anything. She had a secret, burning shame, and if she was just a spinster, no one would ever know. The shame was this: She didn’t find men attractive. With their broad chests and bearded faces, or this thin frames and baby smooth cheeks. There was something about men that was inherently unattractive. It might have been slightly easier had she been a lesbian. Perhaps she would have found strength in this and been able to carve out a life for herself somewhere, but women held no allure. Whether it was soft curves or tight muscles. Sure, objectively she could tell if someone was attractive, but it was like looking at a painting or a pretty photograph. It was meaningless to her, there was no dull ache for someone, no stirring in her loins. She had read many romance novels hoping they would spark something, read though hundreds of pages of boring dialogue and embarrassing sex scenes, but nothing ever happened. Marcy was, quite simply, a freak.

So she decided that there was only one thing to do. She would live alone and cut herself off from everyone. She felt bad about her parents, always wondering if she was going to bring a boy home, asking if she was going to settle down anytime soon. At first they believed that perhaps she was just keeping her boyfriends secret and hidden, that she was ashamed of them. Marcy had stomped that idea out as soon as she heard it. When she was thirty five, her dying mother had not so subtly suggested that Marcy was a lesbian and it was fine if she was, no really, they just wanted her to be happy. When Marcy had told her that no, she was not a lesbian, she thought she saw a light in her mothers eyes die. Marcy knew that was her mother accepting that Marcy would continue to be alone.

Her mother died three months later and it was a small affair, her father didn’t attending, having run off with a mistress some fifteen years before. The only ones at the funeral were Marcy, the priest and a few scattered relatives appearing out of familial duty. When it was done, she sat in her mothers house, her house now, in darkness, completely alone. She was surrounded by food and booze. She didn’t know why she expected a large number of people to show up, it’s just how it always was. For Marcy it was the first funeral she had been to and she didn’t know how to feel. She was aware of death but it had always been a far off concept, something that would eventually affect her, but not for a while longer. Though she was sad for her mother, she was happy for other reasons. It was a freeing moment for her, she could strip away the pretend aspects of her life. She no longer had to keep track of which supposed friend said or did what. They were for her mothers benefit. Now that her mother was gone, there was no reason to keep up the charade. It was sad to see them go in a way, after all, these had been with her for years, even if they weren’t real, she knew everything about them and they knew everything about her.

Perhaps on some level she was ashamed of being alone and that was why she created the friends. If ever asked, she would simply say she couldn’t bare to see her mother worry over her. It just seemed easier to leave the house for a few hours and go for a walk or catch a movie and tell her mother about the fun times she had, than actually go out and seek friends.

She was friendly enough and she wasn’t a recluse, it was just that she enjoyed her own company. She had work friends, everyone had work friends, but it never extended outside of that. Occasionally she would go out with them after work, to be friendly and polite and while it was always fun, once she returned home she remembered she was supposed to be alone. She couldn’t have friends, she didn’t deserve them. They’d find out about her and they wouldn’t want to know her. Sure times were changing, gay people could marry now in some places, even adopt children, but she wasn’t gay, she was something entirely different. Besides, she had already decided, she would be an old spinster with a hundred cats and she would be happy that way. Though the plan fell apart slightly when she was twelve and discovered she was allergic to cats when her parents brought a kitten home. It didn’t matter to her though, it was better that way. Instead she had plants and really, they were better than cats ever could have been. She cared for them, she talked to them and perhaps on some level she loved them. They helped fill her time, all these exotic plants and flowers that needed specialised care.

Marcy liked her strange little life, it never felt constricting. Sometimes she thought about that, others talked about getting stir crazy, or how they needed people sometimes, but she never felt like that, she was content to just keep going as it was. Well, it wasn’t quite contentment, more ambivalence. She was never one for extreme emotions. Someday, if she met someone and fell madly in love, well then maybe she’d be happy to have them, but she never thought that scenario likely. She had created it as a what if scenario so she would know what to do. She thought back to her mothers funeral, with its empty pews and too few mourners and thought it was a nice way to go. Slipping from one world to the next quietly and without a fuss. She didn’t want people to mourn her as she had mourned her mother, after all, Marcy was nothing special. The only things that would be aware of her passing were her plants and even then it would only be in a vague way as they would no longer be watered.

Everyone could live their lives as they wanted and that was just what she was doing. She didn’t want to have hundreds and hundreds of friends, she didn’t want a lover or a housemate. She was perfectly fine with her plants and her large, empty house. She had always known this was how her life would turn out and it seemed wrong to want to turn away from it now.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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